GAA down more than €3.5 million in gate receipts for 2018
Drop in revenue largely down to decreased attendance figures in football championship
The GAA missed out on revenue from an All-Ireland semi-final replay between Cork and Limerick in 2018. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
The GAA posted a big drop in gate revenue in 2018 with a slump in attendance figures for the football championship the main factor. This was despite the introduction for a three-year trial of a round-robin format in the All-Ireland quarter-finals, which expanded the number of fixtures.
Overall gate receipts were down by 14 per cent - from € 34,391,635 to €29,575,091 - with football championship attendances falling by €3,695,115 or 23%, accounting for nearly all the decline.
Ger Mulryan, the association’s new Director of Finance in his first annual report, described the year as “stable and solid,” saying that provision had been made for an adjustment in income because of the championship experiments.
The bottom line wasn’t as drastic as the crowd figures. Central Council took in €847,943 (or 1%) less than in 2017 - the first time though in three years that the association’s income has registered a fall.
Other revenue streams were up on 2018 but hurling championship gate receipts also registered a fall although not as serious - €10,706,252 to €10,236,313 - and also need to be judged in the context of the round-robin provincial championships showing a significant rise in income for Leinster and Munster Councils.
This had a knock-on effect on Central Council income, as the new experimental format (also running for three years) meant the elimination of the All-Ireland qualifier series. The association also missed out on a replay in the Limerick-Cork All-Ireland semi-final, as new rules mean that extra time has to be played if the teams are level after 70 minutes the first day.
The other semi-final between Galway and Clare survived that provision to go to a replay even after extra time and the year saw the largest aggregate attendance at the All-Ireland hurling semi-finals on record.
There was however a reduction in big replays, as in 2018 there had been football draws in both the All-Ireland quarter-finals (Mayo-Roscommon) and semi-finals (Mayo-Kerry).
Main headings of Central Council income for 2018 were gate receipts at 46%, down six, commercial revenue at 31%, up two, and other streams - largely Croke Park - providing 15%.
Mulryan also reported that the distribution figure of what goes back to GAA units was at €13,900,000 - up from €13,600,000.
On the subject of games development grants, Dublin’s allocation at €1,303,630 was slightly down on 2017 but continues to dwarf other counties with Meath a distant second on €367,400.
Croke Park’s profitability was also buoyant revenue and gross profits up 1% €42,839,583 and €31,297,078. Stadium director Peter McKenna was able to announce a €500,000 increase in the grant to Croke Park - to €8,000,000 - bringing the total over the eight-figure mark to €107,000,000 mark since the transfers began in 2006.